Beat the Summer Slide With Summer Reading Programs in Columbia, SC


Have you been searching for reading programs to keep your child reading, motivated, and learning throughout summer break? While summer is usually time for mental breaks, going on family trips and sleeping in, there can also be time for slowing down with a good book in hand. Whether your child will be starting out this upcoming year as a preschool or kindergartener or if you’ve got older, high school teens, we’ve got a reading program for everyone…even you! 

Read to Succeed This Summer 

We’ve all heard the statistics and recommendations on reading – reading to your babies and tots will help develop their speech and literacy understanding, low reading levels, unfortunately, lead to increased school drop-out rates, reading increases knowledge, and so on.

This summer you can allow your child to read while also having fun! Long car trips, plane rides, and stormy summer days make for the perfect opportunity to open up a book of their choice and read for enjoyment instead of purely school-related outcomes.

Make it a family affair and jump into the challenges with them, model the behavior you’re wanting to see, and help them earn their potential rewards. Below you will find both local and virtual reading programs throughout the summer and several of them can earn your children awesome prizes! 

Summer Reading Programs in Columbia, SC

Win prizes for reading, or develop those reading and literacy skills with these summer reading reading programs an dincentives in the Columbia, SC area.

Lexington County Library Summer Reading Program

The Lexington County Library’s summer reading program is open to all ages, even adults! This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities” and begins June 1, 2022. There will be several summer reading kick-off parties on June 1 around Lexington:

  • Gilbert-Summer Library from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • Batesburg-Leesville Library from 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Icehouse Amphitheater from 3 pm – 6 pm 
  • Irmo Library from 3 pm – 6 pm

And on June 2 at:

  • Gaston Library from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

Each event will have activities planned as well as the opportunity to sign-up for the summer reading challenge and get your reading packet. Be sure to check out each library’s website to get more information on special events that will be at your local kick-off party! 

Richland County Library Summer Learning Challenge 

The Summer reading challenge for the Richland County library begins on June 1, 2022 and ends on August 14, 2022. The goal is to earn a total of 30 points by collecting 1 point each time your child reads for 30 minutes, attends a summer learning challenge program, or completes a learning activity of their choice. Points must be tracked on the “Paper Tracker” which can be picked up at the library or printed from the website. 

Once completed, take your child’s tracker to the library and receive a medal, FREE passes for one adult and one child to the Columbia Museum of Art, and a FREE pass to a select Columbia Fireflies baseball game. 

Richland Library Reading Club 

This reading club is led by library reading specialists and is for rising 3rd-grade students. The club is designed for children who are reading below their grade level and who need some extra help with phonics and reading strategies throughout summer break! You must register your child for this club by going online or calling 803.929.3434. Reading Club sessions are as follows:

  • June 13 – June 23
    • Mondays – Thursdays from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm 
  • July 11 – July 21 
    • Mondays – Thursdays from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm 
  • August 1 – August 11 
    • Mondays – Thursdays from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm 

This reading club is only available at the Richland Library located at 1431 Assembly Sreet, Columbia. 

Northeast Presbyterian Church – Lamppost Summer Reading Club

This club begins June 1 and goes until August 10, 2022. The club is open to children between the ages of 3 and 17 years old. Kids will be broken up into age divisions and will be challenged to read a certain number of books and ultimately get to “level 3” or 7+ finished books. There will be prizes and drawings for children in each age group who make it to the level 3 tier. The grand prize winner will win a Kindle E-Reader! For more details, rules, reading forms, and to register go to NEPC Lampost Summer Reading Website.

Chuck E. Cheese Summer Reading Program 

I love this program because it offers some flexibility for parents to decide on guidelines/challenges based upon reading level, age, and family needs. All you need to do is print off the 2-week long “Reading Rewards” Calendar and give your kids check-marks each day that they complete the reading challenge(s) you have set. Once the chart is finished, it can be redeemed at your local Chuck E. Cheese for 10 FREE play points.  

Your Child’s School

Don’t forget to check for summer reading activities at your child’s school. They may have programs or even book recommendations based upon grade and/or reading level! 

Prisma Health Literacy Summer Program 

This program is run by certified speech therapists and is offered to children between the ages of 6 – 11 years old. These are group-based sessions where children will build upon their knowledge of reading, writing, and comprehension. For more information and to enroll please call 803.434.1260. 

Summer Reading Challenges at Bookstores With Prizes

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

Have a rising 1st – 6th grader? This program is for them! The Barnes & Noble reading program will challenge your kiddos to not only read 8 books of their choice, but also write about their favorite part in each book. Your child(ren) will then need to bring their completed reading journal to any Barnes & Noble store between July1 and August 31, 2022. Once completed, they will receive a free book which they can choose from a list found on the Summer Reading Journal.

Books-A-Million Summer Reading Challenge

This summer, your children can earn a free pencil pouch when they complete the Books-A-Million summer reading program. They will need to choose and read 4 books from the reading list which can be found in-store or online and then write about each book in their summer reading log. Take the finished reading log to any store to claim their prize! 

Virtual Summer Reading Programs

Clemson University Summer Reading Program 

Clemson’s summer reading program is divided into several 6-week long courses. Visit their website and choose which grade your child will be in this upcoming school year, see a list of books they will read, and register for dates and times.

Half-Price Books Summer Reading Program

Go online at Half Price Books Summer Reading to register for this summer’s reading club which officially begins June 1, 2022. Throughout the summer, your children will be able to download several activities that will keep them engaged, learning, and excited about reading! There will be various themes throughout the weeks:

  • June 1 – June 19 Camp Creativity – focus on arts/crafts 
  • June 20 – July 4 Camp Discovery – focus on math 
  • July 5 – July 17 Camp Motion – focus on sports
  • July 18 – July 31 Camp Imagination – focus on music and drama 

You can also find a list of recommended books online according to your child’s age group! 

Pizza Hut – Camp Book It

Parents can go online to nd register for Camp Book It where they can track their child’s reading all summer long. When your child meets their monthly reading goal, you will receive an emailed certificate for a FREE one-topping personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut! 

Reading is Fundamental   

Your kiddos can travel the United States on a virtual reading marathon this summer with Reading is Fundamental! There are various activities each week to go along with their books as they learn about different states and take a “road trip”. The places they will travel to include: 

  • Week 1 – California
  • Week 2 – Arizona
  • Week 3 – Wyoming
  • Week 4 – Tennessee
  • Week 5 – New York
  • Week 6 – Washington, D.C.

For a full list of books that they will read each week head to Reading is Fundamental!

Scholastic Summer Reading Home Base 

From May 9 – August 19, 2022 your kids can track their reading, attend virtual author events, engage in educational games and more by creating an account for them on “Home Base.” By keeping up their reading streak, your children will not only be able to gain access to more virtual fun, but they will help “unlock” donated books that will be distributed to children with limited or no book availability. Reading for a purpose – how rewarding! Sign up for Scholastic Home Base.


Have a teenager at home? Going to be on-the-go a lot this summer? We’ve found the perfect summer reading program for you! Sync is designed for teens 13 years and older and will give them 16 weeks worth of audiobooks for a grand total of 32 books all for FREE! All you’ll have to do is register your child for Sync online so they can get started! 

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